CLARKS SUMMIT — The combination of an opportunistic offense and a big play of special teams helped Valley View hold off Abington Heights, 22-17, in a Lackawanna Football Conference non-division game Saturday, Sept. 24 at Comets Stadium.
“We knew it was going to be a hard-fought, physical, emotional game,” Abington Heights head coach Joe Repshis said. “I give credit to (Valley View), they played very well defensively. They created opportunities and took advantage of them.”
Valley View (2-3) fumbled on its first possession of the game, but fared much better the next time it had the ball.
Cougars quarterback Chandler Fuller, who rushed for 61 yards on 17 carries, scored on a 1-yard run to end an 11-play, 75-yard drive with 4:07 left in the first quarter. Jake Osborne connected with Ethan Carey for the two-point conversion to give Valley View an 8-0 lead.
On the Comets next possession, a 37-yard completion from Colin McCreary to Brandon Hardy down the sideline set up a 42-yard field goal attempt, but McCreary’s kick fell well short.
Valley View’s second turnover of the game, a bad snap over the head of Fuller, was recovered by Comets linebacker Owen Hivner at the Cougars 1-yard line. One play later, McCreary plunged in for a touchdown with 11:52 remaining in the second quarter. McCreary added the extra point.
The Cougars answered as quickly as they possible could.
Osborne returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and Fuller ran in the two-point conversion to give Valley View a 16-7 advantage with 11:36 left in the second quarter.
“My teammates blocked well and I just made a couple cuts,” Osborne said.
Abington Heights (3-2) cashed in on Valley View’s third turnover when Logan Hivner recovered a botched snap and Anthony Duboski scored on a 2-yard run. McCreary’s extra point cut the Comets’ deficit to two points with 8:37 remaining in the second quarter.
McCreary capped a 9-play drive with a 45-yard field goal to give Abington Heights a 17-16 lead with 7.6 seconds left in the first half.
Valley View’s defense held Abington Heights off the scoreboard in the second half while limiting the Comets to 43 yards of offense.
After coming up empty on three drives in the third quarter, an interception by Osborne early in the fourth helped set up Valley View’s winning touchdown when Fuller scored on a 16-yard run with 6:38 remaining in the game.
“It was a huge momentum swing for us,” Osborne said. “It’s a rivalry game and I’m just happy we were able to get the win.”
An interception from Chase Combs and fumble recovery by Kyle Cwalinski in the final minutes of the game sealed the win for the Cougars.
Repshis believes the Comets need to take better care of the ball if they are going to be successful throughout the rest of the season.
“We want to keep possession of the football on offense and create turnovers on defense,” he said.
Abington Heights will travel to play Pittston Area at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30 in a non-conference game.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.